Massages are not just for the rich and famous. In fact, more senior centers, retirement homes and massage therapy centers are adding geriatric massage sessions to cater to the elderly in their community. Massages provide a low risk and high reward method for many seniors to deal with a number of physical and mental health issues. Family caregivers should definitely consider making geriatric massage sessions a regular part of their relative’s elderly care routine.
What is Geriatric Massage?
Geriatric massage is when a licensed and trained professional masseuse manipulates the muscles and joints of the body in certain ways designed to bring physical relief and positive feelings. People of any age can benefit from massages, but recent studies show some major benefits for the elderly. Elderly adults often face a number of age-related health issues and massages can provide some relief.
Family caregivers should not make the mistake of lining up just any massage sessions for their aging relatives. Geriatric massages need to follow certain guidelines by a masseuse that has been trained to deal with elderly clientele. For example, seniors often prefer to get massages while seated instead of lying down and the masseuse should not apply as much pressure to the skin and muscles of an elderly client as they do to someone younger. Sessions are generally shorter for seniors, too, lasting around 30 minutes. Because elderly adults often have joint issues and flexibility limitations, the masseuse will exercise careful and gentle control when manipulating the client’s limbs.
How Does Geriatric Massage Benefit Elderly Adults?
Geriatric massages are a low-risk, non-invasive way for many elderly adults to get some relief from health issues, both physical and mental. There’s no doubt that the body changes with age. Among the major changes is a decrease in bone mass and muscle mass, which can affect flexibility and balance. The skin becomes more wrinkled and thinner, which makes it easier to injure and slower to heal. The vascular walls thicken, which affects blood pressure as well as circulation. Many seniors deal with arthritic joints and an increase in aches ad pains. Massages can help with all these physical issues.
Aging also takes a toll on mental health. Elderly people often deal with heavy emotions like grief, frustration, loneliness, depression and anxiety. They can also experience the harmful effects of prolonged stress. A massage stimulates the nervous system and releases helpful hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. These flood the body and produce feelings of happiness, caring and peace.
When elderly people get regular massages designed for geriatric populations, they soon see how well the treatments alleviate the symptoms of many age-related diseases. A healthier mind and body contribute to a better quality of life for people of all ages. Seniors deserve to feel their best, and geriatric massage may be a good way for them to achieve this. Family caregivers will be doing a great service for their aging relatives when they incorporate regular massages into their elderly care plans.